The upper deck dining area- seats 8
Harpy embroidered jute shopping bags.
Harpy lifebelts: There are 9 of them on board - we hope you won't need them!
Harpy featured in the Legoland model of London
Tower Bridge from the front lower deck
A 1980's photo of Harpy and a nice boat for weekend trips
The original brass Harpy maker's plate
Harpy from the river at night
An American family's birthday party on board: Summer 2018
Lunch on deck
Christmas lights through the French windows to the upper deck
Christmas lights on the upper deck
Christmas lights from the entrance brow bridge
Difficult to get bored of the view of the most famous bridge in the world!
Tower Bridge fireworks
Bathroom 2: decent sized basin and a bath/shower
Cabin 4 set up as a double
Cabin 4 set up as a twin bedded room
Cabin 3
Cabin 2
Cabin 1 en-suite bath
Cabin 1 en-suite bathroom, with a separate shower
Cabin 1 four poster bed
Cabin 1
Living area from the stairs
There are three remote controlled wooden propeller fans in the upper deck
Dining table (made by Ambrose Heal in 1922 for Winston Churchill's house at Chartwell) - seats  8
Kitchen table - seats 6
Fully equipped kitchen
Kitchen and kitchen dining for 6
A blue clock
60 ft (18.5m), main upper deck space
Security gated entrance with entryphone and coded key-pad access. Guests choose their own code for the duration of their stay.
The brow bridge private entrance
The Harpy from the river
Cabin 1
Living room with the postcard view of Tower Bridge

Extraordinary houseboat near Tower Bridge

The Harpy Houseboat: London's most historic houseboat with the postcard view of Tower Bridge.

Excellent! 5/5 (2 reviews)

Houseboat highlights

  1. Exceptional views of Tower Bridge and The City
  2. Superb location on the River Thames
  3. Spacious and comfortable
  1. Stunning interior and equipment
  2. Perfect for families & larger groups

Houseboat summary

Welcome aboard this beautifully restored 4-bedroom London houseboat on the South Bank of the Thames with exceptional views of Tower Bridge, the River Thames, The City of London & Canary Wharf. If you want to be right there in the heart of London this is the place!  Staying on board this luxurious 5* London houseboat is a truly memorable experience.

Houseboat description

The world's first floating Customs House, built in 1904 as 'HMS (His Majesty's Ship) Harpy', has been transformed into one of London's most unique homes, right in the heart of the city.

King George V made an official visit to The Harpy in 1920 - there's a photo of that on board. As the former VIP landing stage for The City of London, visiting dignitaries included Sir Winston Churchill, Earl Mountbatten (the last Viceroy of India), HRH Princess Margaret and Maggie Thatcher. The last royal visitor was HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), in 1989.  Jane Seymour held her OBE party on board in 2000. 

Ex Prime Minister Sir John Major was guest of honour at Sir Oliver Letwin's fundraising party on board in 2008. Quoting Sir Oliver: 'Your boat is really beautiful, it was all so generously and elegantly done, one really felt as if it were a Venetian festival’.

Since being made available as a holiday let in 2017, a number of Hollywood stars have made their London base; most recently (in 2018), Gerard Butler, whilst filming in London. A number of films have used as a location, including Spielberg's Young Sherlock Holmes and A Fish called Wanda.  The Harpy also features as an iconic Thames vessel in Legoland's model of London.  

Acquired by the current owners in 1981, and now known as simply ‘The Harpy', this fascinating piece of maritime history offers 5* luxury accommodation with the postcard view of Tower Bridge, the River Thames, the skyline of The City of London to the west and Canary Wharf to the east. The Harpy is the perfect London base for a large family holiday or a group of colleagues on a working visit to The City of London.

At 115 years old, as well as being the oldest houseboat in London, with 233 sq. m. (2,506 sq. ft.) of decks, and 172 sq. m. (1,850 sq. ft.) internal accommodation, The Harpy is also the largest.  Four double cabins (one of which can be a twin bedded room), comfortably sleep 8 guests, and, in 3 sofa beds and a crib/cot, up to a further 4 guests - a maximum of 12. All cabins are above deck, each with large double glazed windows with river views. Cabin 1 has remote controlled electric lined curtains. Cabins 2, 3 & 4 have lined curtains. 

The main living space is 18.4m long (60ft) with 22 windows and exposed timber trusses to the 11ft 9in (3.6m) ceiling. From the living-dining-kitchen, there are 2 doors and French windows onto the 117 sq. m. (1,260 sq. ft.) upper deck, with an eight-seater teak dining table, a serving table and two benches, all with the amazing views. There are 12 external upper deck bulkhead lights and stainless steel safety wires between the deck rails.

The kitchen includes an American fridge/freezer/ice maker, an alkaline water filtration system, Neff gas hob and double oven, extractor fan, Miele dishwasher, microwave, espresso 'bean to cup' coffee machine, rice steamer, juicer and all the basics; chefs knives, kettle, Dualit toaster, Kenwood blenders, cafetieres and Le Creuset pots and pans, graters, measuring jugs, mixing bowls, oven gloves, tea towels etc. There is plenty of crockery/serving dishes and cutlery; generally 16 of everything.

With mains power, gas central heating, mains (filtered) water and super fast fibre-optic wi-fi, Ultra High Definition TVs, 3 Sky Q boxes & a Sonos sound system, with speakers in every room, The Harpy is a super luxury floating house. 

Relax in one of the superb bathrooms and enjoy the wonderful views. The fully-equipped kitchen allows you to cook for yourself if you feel like eating in and enjoying one of the finest views in London, followed by a movie on the 55 inch LG curved screen QLED Super High Definition TV & Bose surround sound system with 8 speakers on the upper deck.

Retaining much of her original robust character and details The Harpy has a rare collection of over 50 pieces of 1920's early modernist, Ambrose Heal designed, oak furniture, including a spectacular four poster bed owned by Princess de Broglia in 1922, a Heal's dining table designed for Winston Churchill's Chartwell House, a giant B&B Italia sofa, fine art and objects, very comfortable beds with organic cotton mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, feather & down pillows and duvets and masses of large fluffy towels.

The location is superb: 400m east of the Tower Bridge and a 10 minute walk to Bermondsey tube station on the Jubilee Line - 4 stops to Westminster (Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey), and one more to Green Park (Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly - the heart of the West End.  

Described by The Sunday Times as 'The mooring with the most!'; staying on board The Harpy is a memorable experience.

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Details

Property type

Moored houseboat

Payment policy

Cancellation policy

Security deposit

Not required

Check in/out time

Check in between 16:00 and 22:00.

Check out before 11:00.

Bedrooms

4 Bedrooms, 10 Sleeps

Number of double beds: 3
Number of single beds: 4

 

Off the entrance hall is a laundry cupboard with a new LG 8kg/12kg washer/dryer.
On the lower deck, Master Cabin 1 has a large picture window (with remote control electric curtains), overlooking Tower Bridge.
The king size bed 183cm (6ft) x 198cm (6ft 6in) is a 1920's Heal's oak four poster originally owned by Princess de Broglie: a.k.a. The Hon. Daisy Fellowes (née Marguerite Séverine Philippine Decazes de Glücksberg, a well-known socialite of the time, Paris Editor of the American Harper's Bazaar, fashion icon, and an heiress to the Singer sewing machine fortune. She was also the Great Aunt of Downton Abbey writer Lord Julian Fellowes, no less. So if you fancy sleeping in a bed with provenance, you found the right place!
Most of the furniture on The Harpy is 1920's Heal's oak; 52 pieces at the last count.
Cabin 1 has two Heal's oak bedside tables with bedside lamps and small adjustable reading lights, remote controlled electric curtains, limed oak wooden Venetian blinds, a remote controlled Dyson AM06 quiet bladeless cooling fan, two Heal's oak wardrobes (with plenty of wooden hangers), a full length 1930's draper's shop mirror, Heal's oak desk, make-up mirror, leather stool and a sofa (which can also be used as a small sofa bed if required), and three kilims.
The ensuite bath has a riveted cast iron tub (if Captain Pugwash made baths, it would look like this), with hand shower, a separate shower, loo, large basin, four mirrored cupboards with side lighting and two heated towel rails.
Two Sonos speakers and a Sony HD TV with SKY Q make this an exceptional bedroom.
There are two landline telephones/gate entry phones; one each side of the bed. UK landline calls are free and included.
There is a private deck area accessed off Master Cabin 1, with two deck chairs and side table.
Cabin 2 has a queen size double bed; 5ft (150cm) x 6ft 3in (190cm), two bedside tables, touch-controlled bedside lights, a remote controlled Dyson AM06 quiet bladeless cooling fan, wardrobe with a full-length mirror, bookcase cabinet, small table, make-up mirror, stool, three kilims, Sonos speaker and landline telephone/gate landline calls are free and included.
Cabin 3 has a standard size double bed; 140cm (4ft 6ins) x 190cm (6ft 3ins), two bedside tables, touch-controlled bedside lights, a remote controlled Dyson AM06 quiet bladeless cooling fan, wardrobe with a full-length mirror, dressing table, make-up mirror, stool, three kilims, Sonos speaker and landline telephone/gate landline calls are free and included.
Cabin 4 has two 75cm (2ft 6in) x 190cm (6ft 3ins) single beds which combine with zip-linked mattresses to make a queen size double bed; 150cm (5ft) x 190cm (6ft 3ins). Two bedside tables and lights. A remote controlled Dyson AM06 quiet bladeless cooling fan. There is a wardrobe with a full-length mirror, a chest of drawers, desk, make-up mirror, stool, three kilims, Sony SkyQ TV, Sonos speaker and landline telephone/gate landline calls are free and included.
All cabins have French polished mahogany panelled doors, each with its own key on a wooden labelled fob.
The Alphabeds Whitecroft sprung mattresses have organic British wool fillings with cotton covers and no fire retardant chemicals. The linen in all cabins is fine Egyptian white cotton, professionally laundered and pressed before each letting. The duvets are feather and down, as are the pillows, with anti-allergy covers. There is an ample supply of proper size fluffy towels and bathmats.
Bathroom 2 has a bath with overhead shower, and separate hand shower, two mirrored cupboards, side lighting and two heated towel rails.
The guest loo has a basin, mirrored cupboard, side lighting and a towel rail over a radiator.

Bathrooms

Number of en-suite: 1
Number of toilets: 3

Holiday Type

Nightlife
Historic / Sightseeing
Town / City

Family
Romantic

Amenities

Dining Table & Chairs
Fully Equipped Kitchen
Dishwasher
Microwave / Oven
Toaster

Washing Machine
Linen Provided
Towels Provided
Iron

Entertainment

DVD Player
Internet Access
Music System / CD Player

Telephone
Satellite / Cable Tv
WiFi / Internet

Outdoor Facilities

Terrace / Balcony

Heating / Cooling

Central Heating
Room Fans

Electric Fans

Location

City Views
Close To The Shops

Close To The Ariport

General

Free Parking
Gated Property

Child Friendly
Highchair Availabele

Services

Maid Service
Chauffers Service

Airport Collection Available

Additional services on request and subject to quotation as an additional cost.

Location

Distances

Airport

10 km

Train station

1 km

How to get there

The Harpy Houseboat, China Wharf, Mill Street, Bermondsey, London SE1 2BB:

Rail & Underground: London Bridge.

Exit from the Tooley Street entrance to London Bridge Station and cross the road. Turn right on Tooley Street. After about 300m, just before the Hilton Hotel, at the More London trees, turn left towards Tower Bridge. Turn right at the river. Walk under Tower Bridge, along Shad Thames, and make your way to the riverfront by turning left through Butlers Wharf, then turn right past the Chop House and Pont de la Tour restaurants, carry on past the old Design Museum, cross St Saviour's Dock Footbridge and the blue canopied gateway to The Harpy is on your left just across the footbridge.

Underground: Bermondsey.

Turn left out of Bermondsey Station heading west on Jamaica Road. Cross the road. After about 400m turn right into George Row, walk to the end and turn left into Bermondsey Wall West.

Walk to the end of Bermondsey Wall West and into the China Wharf courtyard (onto the walkway around the edge of the car park which slopes under China Wharf).

Walk through the orange archway under the left-hand side of China Wharf to the River.

The entrance to The Harpy is a blue canopied gate right in front of you.

Cab/Driving:

From the West End/City go south over London Bridge, take the first left into Tooley Street. Go along Tooley Street for about half a mile, passing Tower Bridge Road. Mill Street is the 5th turning on the left, just before the church, about 400m after Tower Bridge Road. China Wharf is the last building on the left at the end of Mill Street. Walk on the raised pavement area around the China Wharf parking area, round to the left-hand side of the building, following signs to 'St Saviours Dock Footbridge'. Go through the archway on the left-hand side of China Wharf. As you come through the passageway the blue canopied gateway to The Harpy is straight ahead of you.

When booking a cab from The Harpy ask them to pick you up at China Wharf, Mill Street, SE1 2BB.

Driving/Parking:

The Harpy has a parking space for visitors, or two if you need them, in the St. Saviours Wharf basement car park in Mill Street. Just ask; no extra charge - we will provide a security key fob.

The nearest 24-hour multi-storey car park (250 yards) is Q-Park in Gainsford Street, Butlers Wharf SE1. Coming from the west; after crossing Tower Bridge Road take any of the five turnings left off Tooley Street. Gainsford Street is two blocks (c.150m) north of, and parallel with, Tooley Street.

When you come out of the car park head north, one block to the river. On the riverfront turn right past the old Design Museum. Cross St Saviour's Dock Footbridge and the blue canopied gateway to The Harpy is on your left just across the footbridge.

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Houseboat owner

Andrew

Described by The Sunday Times as: 'The mooring with the most!', The Harpy Houseboat has been owned by Andrew & Julie since 1981. Initially used as their home and office and then just home, The Harpy has been the subject of three major refits. The latest, in 2017, bringing her up to 5* standard before being made available for holiday lettings. Andrew & Julie's attention to detail in the restoration and maintenance of The Harpy is plain to see. Their objective is for visitors to enjoy staying on board as much as they and their family have done for 37 years and, when not booked for guests (increasingly rare!) still do.

Response time
Normally within one hour
Language spoken
English

2 Reviews - Extraordinary houseboat near Tower Bridge

Excellent! 5/5

  1. Justine - England

    02 Jan

    Most stunning view from this London houseboat

    This is the 'Jewel in the Crown'. I seriously doubt you could find a more unique place to stay in London, the most stunning view and feel so lucky to have stayed here, feels like a secret you want to keep as we were lucky to get the date we had, would love to stay again.

  2. Koriena - England

    08 Feb

    Most unique experience ever - highly recommended houseboat rental in London

    Loved it, still basting in the afterglow of our most unique experience we have ever had, 1 week in September 2018 at the Harpy House in London. It was roomy and spacious for our party of 7.

    Andrew greeted us warmly and gave information about how to navigate the nautical themed Harpy House to make it the best time one could possibly have, and beyond, as though we were royalty. He taught us the history of the boat, along with the area, Including photos throughout. Check out the website. His passion and attention to detail was radiant and infectious.

    Due to the location in the heart of London on the Thames, it was very easy to get around and explore by foot, & private and secure on the Harpy. We did not expect such comfortable accommodations with great taste-the pictures do not do it justice. We felt like Londoners immediately, shopping right nearby.
    If you want a lot of fun and a peaceful time in one, this is well worth it, and 'a must' to return to. Since we enjoyed ourselves immensely, we have passed the good word along to our family and friends, who stated they are going to book into 2019. We are jealous. Thank-you Andrew and Julie. We will be back one day.

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